Protection of Animals

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th July 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds 12:00 am, 13th July 1964

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made in drawing up regulations for the protection of animals in markets.

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, and I have made the Markets (Protection of Animals) Order, 1964. Copies of the Order will be available in a few days' time. In the meantime, I am arranging for a summary of the Order to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The main provisions lay down requirements on feeding and watering, penning and accommodation. Calves, dairy cows and pigs must be given prior claim on avail- able covered accommodation. Veterinary inspectors are given wide powers to remove suffering or unfit animals from markets.

The Order has been drawn up after consultation with representatives of the producer interests, the veterinary profession, auctioneers, market and local authorities and the animal welfare societies—all of whom support the objectives of the Order.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, which will be widely welcomed. Would he not agree that the great majority of farmers treat their animals humanely and that the most casual visit to any market, such as the one at Bury St. Edmunds, which I know well, would demonstrate this care by fanners of their animals?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

Yes, Sir. I thoroughly agree with my hon. Friend. When we discussed this matter last year, on the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, the sentiments of my hon. Friend represented the general feeling of the House, but it was felt, nevertheless, that regulations should be laid down to ensure that high standards obtain throughout the country.

Photo of Mr George Darling Mr George Darling , Sheffield, Hillsborough

Can the Minister say whether the regulations cover the packing of animals into cattle wagons, this being one of the parts of the marketing arrangements where most cruelty arises?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) will remember that when we discussed this matter last year two barrels, so to speak, came into the argument. The first was for calves in transit and the second was for animals in the markets. This is the one for those in the markets. The other, for animals in transit, has been laid before the House.

Photo of Mr Richard Glyn Mr Richard Glyn , North Dorset

Are the representatives of the R.S.P.C.A. satisfied with the new regulations?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

I gather that that is so. We received a letter from the Chief Secretary of the R.S.P.G.A. saying that the Society is in entire agreement with the regulations; indeed, very much welcomes them.

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

Would the Minister not agree that if animals could go direct to slaughterhouses and not through the auction mart the protection of their welfare would be much easier?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

I would not say that the protection of their welfare cannot be assured through the markets.

Following is the summary:

The Markets (Protection of Animals) OrderThe Order applies to markets held at intervals of 24 days or less and contains the following main provisions:—
  1. (a) A veterinary inspector who considers that an animal in a market is unfit, in need of food and water, exposed to adverse weather, unsuitably tethered, has an overstocked udder or otherwise suffering may treat the animal or take such other action (including removal of the animal from the market) at the owner's expense as is necessary to relieve its suffering.
  2. (b) Calves, dairy cows in milk and pigs are to be kept under cover of a roof where such accommodation is available.
  3. (c) Animals are to be penned so as to avoid injury or overcrowding, regard being had to differences of age and size.
  4. (d) Bulls must be tied.
  5. (e) Adequate water and drinking facilities are to be available for animals, and animals must be watered as often as is necessary to prevent them suffering from thirst.
  6. (f) Animals which are left in a market overnight are to be fed and watered before 9 a.m. the following day and thereafter at least once every twelve hours until removed.
  7. (g) Pens must be free from projections and sharp corners.
  8. (h) Polled and dehorned cattle are to be penned separately from horned cattle.
The Order comes into force on 16th July, 1964, except for the provisions outlined at (e), (f) and (g) above, which come into force on 16th January, 1965, and (h) above which comes into force on 16th January, 1966.